Seth Owen, despite being the best student in his class, had his dreams of attending Georgetown University crushed when his parents threw him out of their home for being gay.
“I started to cry because I realized there was no way that I could go to college,” he said after reviewing his financial aid package from the university, which had offered him a place based on a certain amount to be paid by Seth himself or his family members. But his parents, being orthodox adhering members of the Church, wanted him to renounce his sexuality so they could act as guarantors for his college loans. When put in that position, Seth chose his identity, which meant he had no money to attend college.
Then stepped in Jane Martin, one of Owen’s teachers at school, who knew the young man had too much potential to be squandered. She set up a GoFundMe page for Seth, and surprisingly for both of them, the valedictorian’s community galvanized together to support him. All that Martin had hoped was to raise nearly $20,000 for the first year of his study, but much to everyone’s astonishment, her plea went viral with a number of news outlets reporting his story.
Within a couple of days, the GoFundMe page had received over $130,000 for Seth to attend Georgetown, leaving the young man deeply reassured about his choice to stand up for his sexuality.
“While the campaign has been ongoing, the professionals at the Office of Student Financial Services have continued to work with me to make my dream a reality,” Owen told NBC News. “Due to their efforts and attention, they were able to adjust my aid package even further, my expected contribution is now $0. With these new adjustments, I will be able to attend Georgetown University this fall.”
Even more importantly, Owen realized his precarious position wasn’t his alone. There were a number of young men and women who faced chastisement for being gay, and now Seth hopes his story can inspire them. Pleasantly thrilled to have received such warmth from unknown quarters, he wants LGBTQ students all over the country to know that there are others willing to stand up for them.
“At the moment, I am in process of exploring the establishment of a scholarship to help LGBTQ scholars who find themselves in the circumstance I was in earlier this year,” he said. “I will be seeking to pass on the kindness and generosity that I have been shown.”